A Weekend Wandering in the Wilderness

I spent a weekend with other local Sierra Clubbers wandering in the Hercules Glades Wilderness Area – my first of the seven wilderness areas in Missouri.  A wilderness area is basically one with no human-made structures (roads, bridges, buildings, etc), only short-term human visitors, and no motorized vehicles.  In practice, there are still remnants of previous habitation – near our camp for example was an old concrete water trough and the remains of a stone spring house.

6 of us started Friday afternoon at the Lookout Tower trail head, so named because of the tower used, I assume, to watch for forest fires.  It’s fenced-off so you can no longer climb to the top (the work of a lawyer, no doubt).

We headed west about 4 miles up and down hills,  crossing Long Creek several times…

… and across large glades where we encountered typical inhabitants like wild flowers (false dandelion?) …… trees with weird bark …

… and tarantulas …

Strangely enough, I didn’t see a single prickly pear cactus.  No scorpions, rattlesnakes, or roadrunners either, darn it!

We camped in the Rock Springs area and were joined that evening by a couple other people that came east from the Coy Bald trail head.  There is an old well house nearby with a pipe leading to an old watering trough.  It was expected that we would get our drinking water here, but water was no longer flowing and what was left in the trough was pretty unappetizing.  One of our party went down the hill toward Long Creek and found a spring along the way so that served.

Saturday morning we went to The Falls.  There wasn’t much water flowing but it was still pretty neat.Heading upstream you see:

Then we went back to camp, had lunch, and headed up the East Devil’s Den trail and right up the side of Upper Pilot Knob, where you get some pretty good views from the glade at the top.  That’s Lower Pilot Knob on the right side of the picture, about 2 miles west:

More wildlife found me up here.  This one did not try to sell me insurance so it’s apparently not a gecko.There were even a lot of cactus in a wooded area – though I don’t think they’re prickly pear.Then it was down the north side of the knob to the Pilot Trail and a geological feature I think is called Elephant Tracks:

We headed west on Pilot Trail, south on the West Devil’s Den Trail, and then had a long climb back to camp near Rock Springs.

We did get a little rain Saturday night so my “lucky” streak continues – I came home with a wet tent once again.  Sunday morning we packed and headed back to the trail head and then home.

While coming through Forsyth we saw this restaurant that apparently just couldn’t decide what it wanted to be…

It’s time to start getting ready for the next trip.

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About Michael R

I enjoy hiking, landscaping with native plants, nature photography, dark chocolate, fine dining, good movies, and old jazz.
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